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October 2, 2014

In Marie Claire Profile, Jennifer Hing Dresses Up and Opens Up

Jennifer Hing, the communications director for the House Appropriations Committee, is known around Capitol Hill for pairing stylish yet work-appropriate outfits with a practical pencil threaded through her ponytail or tucked behind one ear.

But in a photograph accompanying an article published today on the Marie Claire website, Hing eschews her pencil for an oversized clutch bag, and her tailored blazer for a sweeping avant-garde cape.

She’s the subject of one of three short profiles appearing in the September issue of the women’s magazine under the headline, “Change Agents: 3 Women Who are OWNING their Future.” Hing, plus Deborah Turness, president of NBC News and the creative director and executive vice president of design for Banana Republic, Marissa Webb, are presented as “power players reinventing the rules in their respective businesses and proving that the future belongs to those who seize it.”

Hing told HOH she was contacted “out of the blue” to participate in the profile and still wasn’t quite sure how she was selected or whether someone tipped off Marie Clare that she might be a good interview subject.

Each of the profiles is paired with a professional photograph of the interview subject in her natural habitat, and is outfitted with designer apparel that’s priced for the edification of readers (for the record, Hing in her photo is seen standing on the marble tile floors somewhere in the Capitol complex, outfitted in a $2,990 Akris cape, $945 Jennifer Fisher bracelet, and $595 Jimmy Choo shoes, with a $1,840 Marni clutch and a Kiton dress listed as “price upon request”).

That’s the extent of the fashion talk, however. From there, Hing’s story focuses on her work with the Appropriations Committee and her passion for the process.

Some highlights:

- Marie Claire calls Hing “The Strategist,” and her stand-out quote is, “I’m part of the effort to make Congress govern. I don’t do drama. I do the bottom line.” The self-assessment rings true for the congressional reporters who know Hing as even-keeled, unflappable and on-message even when the House’s appropriations process looks poised for a complete meltdown (see: government shutdown, border crisis funding legislation).

- Hing reveals that she sees her job as more than just about messaging, however: “It’s my job to help people understand that not all of Congress is what they see on cable news or late-night TV. I’m part of the effort to make Congress govern.” When confronted with uncooperative conservative factions, she says, “I step back and explain what we do. We’re funding the roads, inspecting the meat. I’m confident there are still people in the middle who understand that the government should use tax dollars to invest in our country, but also use them responsibly.” Marie Claire calls her mission “Herculean.”

- The profile also gives readers a glimpse into Hing’s past: She is one of six children born and raised in Oregon, and the first in her family to attend college. She had a brief stint with the Transportation Department in the George W. Bush administration, but she’s spent most of her political career as an aide in the halls of Congress.

- Admitting to Marie Clare that she’s “kind of a dork,” Hing gushes over the Appropriations Committee, leaving readers with these parting words: “I don’t think I’d work anywhere else.”

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